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Adapting to the New Normal, as if we had a Choice

Adapting to the New Normal, as if we had a Choice

Adapting to the New Normal, as if we had a Choice


Stephen Powers, Professor, Education and Academic Literacy, Bronx Community College
Aisen Mercado, Student, Bronx Community College
Katherine Lallu, Student, Bronx Community College/City College
Jose Martinez, Student, Hunter College
Angel Calderon, Student, Bronx Community College


Students at BCC, whether first time freshmen, continuing students, transfers or returning students have had to navigate a series of financial policies, CUNY Covid Grading Policies, remote learning whether synchronous or asynchronous, Blackboard, Collaborate, Digication, Zoom,, and a host of online support services. CUNYfirst Document Repositories, Virtual Help Desks and rapidly created and deployed appeals systems have on one hand made life more manageable and at the same time led to more isolation.

– How are students adapting to the new normal, in their lives and education?
CUNY and BCC have attempted to continue “business-as-usual” in so many ways, but these recent semesters have been anything but “the usual.” We have transitioned from what we knew, and were comfortable with, as faculty, students, and staff to behaviors and systems we may not like and are not comfortable with. The “new normal” has a lot of the “old normal” in it, and that is not all good. The “new normal” also has a wealth of new possibilities, that once we get past the forced transition give new opportunities to students to attend and be successful that may not have been there before.

– How well has CUNY adapted to the new normal, as far as students are concerned?
Come and meet the students who are on the other side of those Zoom sessions, who often sit with monitor and mic off; who are listening, following, polling, and multi-tasking. Some drive an Uber while class is going on, others are doing a paper for another instructor, some looking at the assigned readings and videos for the course. Lying down, walking along Fordham Road, listening while at work, students multi-task. They also watch nieces and nephews, share their laptop with young siblings who are in DOE remote classrooms, or parents who are working from home. All of them slow down the wifi. How can faculty, how can CUNY, enable their success in this unfamiliar and unknown environment?

We welcome you to the new normal, whether you like it or not.

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